Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ June 2013

Resident Writes of 358 Ways to Live a Life of Love

By Jacquie Bokow

“Is it news for an 87-year-old Jewish navy veteran, married to a red-haired bowler for 63 years, writing a book about love?”  That was the email Jack Ralph sent to the Gazette newspapers which resulted in a Valentine’s Day feature later picked up by The Washington Post.

“When I started to write my little book about love,” said Jack, who’s been living with his wife Lenora on Malta Lane since 1959, “it began as a light-hearted discussion of things that people could do for each other in the name of love.  During the process of thinking over the items, it occurred to me that following some of the listed items would tend to mold and solidify marriages and good relationships so that they could weather the storms of life.”

Jack believes his book’s “incomplete message extends beyond helping to have better marriages.  It can repair [them].  It can lead to a better way of life and to serve as a guide, with love as the undercurrent and undertow, to help ward off negative influences.”

Jack was inspired to write and self-publish his book, Love is:  358 Ways to Learn to Live a Life of Love, after receiving an email listing 21 definitions of love as told by young children.  Those definitions fill numbers one through 21 of the list.

“If kids can define love, why can’t the adults do it?” he wondered.  He asked family and friends to supply examples, which comprise the remainder of the list.

Some of the ways reflect the contributor’s time of life, such as “taking your medications” (336), “using light salt” (240), and “taking baby aspirin to protect your heart” (329).  Many are practical, such as “having an umbrella in the car” (257), “putting a fresh paper towel roll on the dispenser” (245), and “charging your cell phone” (354).  Taking care of our family members, ourselves, and our commitments is the overarching theme.  Number 358 suggests that readers add to the list by looking at their own lives.

Jack Ralph and his wife of 63 years, Lenora, who is bedridden with cancer, share a laugh in their home on Malta Lane.

“In spite of the statistics concerning the 50 percent divorce rate in less than 10 years of marriage,” says Jack, “everybody thinks they really know everything about love.  When Lenora wanted to bowl better, I bought and we studied a book about the techniques.  Our 63 years of marriage seems incredible.  We must have done something right.  Living in this neighborhood didn’t hurt us either.

“I am happy and satisfied that I took the time and expense to gamble on producing my little book,” says Jack.

Love is is available through both the Author House book publishing company ( and   ■

   © 2013 NFCCA  [Source:]